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First public meeting for schools review set for Wednesday

The Byfords are showing support for the campaign to save their school in Sophiasburgh. Photo contributed

The first public meeting for the Prince Edward County schools accommodation review is Wednesday, Feb. 1 at Prince Edward Collegiate Institute, 6:30 p.m. in the gym.

The review is expected to provide an overview, review the initial report from the school board with the recommended options and provide the school information profiles to better understand the context surrounding the review.

Committee members include Chair Laina Andrews, Superintendent of Education and a committee from each of the affected schools which includes a principal, parent representatives, student, teacher, support staff and school council members. The ARC (Accommodation Review Committees) are to share information, feedback and options to consider between the school board and affected school communities.
A second public meeting is set for April 20. The school board expects to make a decision on the recommendations at its June 19 public board meeting.

Six of the County’s eight schools are affected in proposals for closures and changes. The review proposes consolidation of Pinecrest, Queen Elizabeth, Sophiasburgh, CML and Kente public schools. There are no changes proposed for Athol South Marysburgh and Massassaga Rednersville public schools.

The preliminary recommendation for Prince Edward County Schools is:

– Close Pinecrest Memorial Elementary School and Picton’s Queen Elizabeth School and move students to Prince Edward Collegiate Institute for September 2017.

– Close Sophiasburgh Central School and move students to Prince Edward Collegiate Institute for September 2018.

– Close CML Snider School and Kente Public School and seek Ministry of Education funding/approval to build a new K-8 elementary school on the CML Snider property or in Wellington for September 2020.

Existing space at PECI can be ready for students for Sept. 2017 from Queen Elizabeth and Pinecrest. Renovations at PECI would be completed to facilitate age-appropriate learning spaces and outdoor areas for K-8 students. Sophiasburgh students would move to PECI for September 2018.

Students from Kente and CML would remain at their schools until capital funding is approved by the Ministry of Education for construction of a new school.

The board’s proposals involve 19 local public elementary and secondary schools to present options from the long-term capital and accommodation plan, reflecting declining enrolment and capital needs estimated at $33.7 million – including $17.4 million over five years at PECI.

Over the last decade, elementary enrolment has declined by 21 per cent, and secondary, by 26 per cent. Projections indicate continued decline – which affects Ministry of Education funding, based mainly on a per-student basis.

CML – Current enrolment 233 with a capacity of 403 (utilization 58 per cent) Capital renewal need set at $2.2 million
Kente – Current enrolment 216 with capacity of 334 (utilization 65 per cent) Capital renewal need set at $2.6 million
Pinecrest – Current enrolment 279 with a capacity of 556 (utilization 50 per cent) Capital renewal need set at $3.7 million
Queen Elizabeth – Current enrolment 238 with a capacity of 498 (utilization 48 per cent) Capital renewal need set at $4.7 million
Sophiasburgh – Current enrolment 138 with a capacity of 311 (utilization 44 per cent) Capital renewal need set at $1.8 million
PECI – Current enrolment 529 with a capacity of 1239, (utilization 43 per cent) Capital renewal need set at $17.4 million

All proposals must receive Ministry of Education approval.

Filed Under: Featured ArticlesHastings & Prince Edward District School Board

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